Search crews battle rugged terrain to find 3 people missing after Poudre Canyon floods

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POUDRE CANYON, Colo. (KDVR) — Search and rescue crews are navigating more than a dozen miles of rugged terrain as they work to locate the three people still unaccounted for after devastating floods in Poudre Canyon.

About 45 people were part of the search effort Thursday, including volunteers with Larimer County Search and Rescue and deputies with Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.

“We have people on foot, heavy use of drones today to search areas that are too dangerous to put people into the water of anything like that,” said David Moore, public information officer for Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.

Moore says they try to keep teams out of the water as much as possible, but they did use a dive team to recover a vehicle in the river.

“Obviously, they had to get to the vehicle and help the tow truck operators hook up the apparatus to get it out of the water,” Moore said.

Working near the water also poses some risk for crews on land. Blake McCarty, member of Larimer County Search and Rescue, says they need to use flotation devices and helmets while working near the river.

“We take our safety very seriously and so it’s difficult to maintain appropriate safety and do a good job searching,” McCarty said.

Search teams covered roughly 15 miles along the river Thursday, with more to go the following day.

“It’s very slow — shockingly slow — to move just a few miles through this terrain,” McCarty said.

They plan to resume search efforts Friday on a smaller scale. Moore says unless there is information that leads them to a specific area, they will likely suspend the search.

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